Will Cleveland and Victoria E. Freile, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and The Leader staff
For the 10th straight time, child killer Eric M. Smith has been denied parole.
Smith, who killed 4-year-old Derrick Robie in Steuben County in August 1993, went before the parole board for the first time since 2018. The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision confirmed the board again denied Smith's parole.
Smith, who turned 40 Wednesday, is housed in the medium-security Woodbourne Correctional Facility in the Catskills. He has been incarcerated since 1994.
Derrick Robie’s parents, Dale and Dori Robie, have been strong advocates for a law that would make those incarcerated for violent felonies wait five years between parole hearings instead of the current two years.
“Families need to be given more time -- why is this option every two years?” Dale Robie told The Leader in 2012. “It’s time to put our efforts with this somewhere else. This many years later, it does get a little tiring.”
A bill to make that change has been introduced for the last several years, but has not been approved by the state Legislature.
Smith was 13 when he lured Robie into a wooded area near the boy's Savona home. Derrick was walking alone to a summer camp at a nearby park. Smith strangled Derrick, smashed his head with a rock and sexually abused him.
In previous interviews with a parole board, Smith said he has held in a lot of anger after years of bullying.
"He didn't deserve anything that I did to him; no one deserved that kind of violence," Smith said at his 2014 parole hearing. "What I did to him was brutal."
Smith was housed in a juvenile facility until 2001, when he was transferred to state prison. His lawyer at the time of his trial tried to persuade a jury that Smith suffered from a mental disorder, but Smith was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years to life in prison.
He is eligible for parole every two years and was first denied parole in August 2002. His next parole hearing is October 2021.